People call sports “extreme sports” when someone willingly participates in an activity with a high degree of risk. That means that they choose to do something that not everyone chooses and they do it because it makes them feel more alive, or they have a passion for it. That’s why I choose to call the acceptance that I have been practicing, extreme acceptance. While I may not have chosen the situation, I have been choosing to accept some really difficult changes in my life and body throughout the past year because I want to feel alive, well and healthy.
According to Dictionary.com, the definition of extreme is “reaching a high or the highest degree; very great.” This is what I am striving for. Reaching the very highest level of acceptance for what I have been through and where I am today because I believe this will lead me to responsibility, compassion and finally…love. Love for who I am, who I have been and who I am able to become as a result of the hardships in my life. I have often said that beautiful things happen under pressure. A diamond is made under extreme amounts of heat and pressure. No matter what we are going through, I am willing to bet there is a diamond to be found somewhere in all of the rubble. It may take a while to find it, we may get angry and feel like giving up, but all of that is part of the journey.
I have been going back to so many lessons and slices of wisdom that have brought me comfort in the past. One of my favorites has always been that our character is defined in difficult situations, not when things are easy. Then I look back at how I have shown up through all of this. On the outside, things may have looked like I was doing well, but on the inside, it was pretty dark and twisty. My struggle came with reconciling this. How can I walk through difficulties with grace if I feel like I am falling apart inside? Does the act of doing so mean I am not being authentic or true to myself? Well the truth is, accepting the dualities of life is part of living it. Yoga has taught me that more often than not, we are bringing together two energies that are in opposition and those make us stronger. So, part of my extreme acceptance has been to embrace both parts of me – the graceful and the not so graceful, the dark and the light – because together they are truly the whole of who I am.
Accepting my body through this has been another difficult task. I had hoped that I would lose the weight that I gained once they were able to regulate my hormone levels, but sadly no matter what I do right now, the scale doesn’t budge and my levels are still out of control. Seven months after a full thyroidectomy due to cancer, I have not gotten an opportunity to have a face to face appointment with my doctor. I have been on a waiting list and ALL of my medication changes have been through me visiting the lab and then getting an email from my endocrinologist. This, my friends is UNacceptable. It’s true that sometimes, we have to accept difficult things, but other times, we rise up to the responsibility of taking action in a situation and fighting for what we know we need. I will not be a victim and because of that, it’s time for me to practice some extreme responsibility. That means I push, ask and question. I have to politely and compassionately demand that others love me like I love myself. If I don’t believe I am worth the effort, than no one else will either.
Practicing extreme acceptance and responsibility is something we ALL do! We all have our own hardships and stories and beautiful disasters that have asked us to dig deeper than we ever have before. Part of accepting and finding the strength to take responsibility in our lives is really giving ourselves permission to feel, to experience and to forgive. A huge part of my journey through acceptance has been about letting myself be sick, allowing others to help me and finding compassion for myself when I felt weak and afraid. I have chosen to forgive people who didn’t show up in my life in the ways I needed it because it was not for lack of love for me, but lack of ability within themselves to show up any differently. Being willing to see what is beautiful when the ugliness is so much bigger and louder is a gift we give ourselves through awareness, compassion and strength. It’s definitely a practice and some days I do well and others I am a mess, but the good news is, we can always start again and recommit to ourselves and our goals that will lead us to the very highest degree of our greatness.
Please feel free to share your struggles so that I can send you love and strength. We can do this together.